Honestly, when I clean the house, I find out so much about my plants. It may have something to do with the fact that I have 7 bay windows. Those windows hold a lot of plants.
But those windows also have trim and flat surfaces that needs dusting and of course windows that need washing if the dog has gotten in there barking at the squirrels.
So while I am cleaning the windows, I am checking out the plants. What’s happening? Do they look “okay?” is there any noticeable stickiness? That’s the first sign of an insect infestation, usually–the plant will produce what’s called “honeydew” in response to scale or sometimes mealy bugs or aphids.
You’ll find the stickiness on other leaves or on the surface of the windowsill or table or where ever the plant might be located. So that’s a good indicator of an insect problem.
Another thing I will find is lots of fallen leaves. Usually it’s not a problem. Dry winter homes cause this. If I find an unusual number then I investigate further (I have one plant with a scale infestation right now that is dropping leaves like crazy–in fact, the unusual number of falling leaves, rather than any stickiness, is what first alerted me to that plant’s particular issue).
But what I never expected to find–and what I can’t really account for–is artillery fungus remains. I find it occasionally but I have no idea why I am finding it indoors. It’s those black dots on the “ceiling” and molding of the bay window in the above photo.
To recap, artillery fungus is a particularly obnoxious type of fungus. It can permanently damage cars and paint or siding on a home. It looks just like what you see in the above photo–tiny black dots–except that out of doors they are often far more numerous and far more destructive because they can’t be removed by most known means like power washing.
It is generally thought to come from the breakdown of “cheaper” forms of mulches like those dyed mulches made from ground up pallets. But clearly, indoors, I don’t have any such thing.
It’s obviously coming from some component in my house plant soil. And here’s where it gets interesting. After the great fungus gnat infestation a few years ago, I went cold turkey from the commercial bagged soils. I now only use the soils you can get in garden centers. I exclusively used soils that I bought in garden centers all season long this past summer. So whatever is breaking down in those soils must be causing this problem.
I would still rather have this minor issue than another fungus gnat infestation (which I have not had since I have switched to “good” quality garden soil.) But I will leave that coice up to you.